Apple Apparently Under Government Scrutiny Over Music Deals

By Chris Mills on at

Apple’s long-rumoured relaunch of the Beats music-streaming service is slated for June, and in preparation, the company is softening the beaches by playing hardball with record labels. And, not for the first time, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) isn't particularly happy.

According to sources that have spoken to Bloomberg and The Verge, Apple is pushing hard to strike exclusive deals for the new streaming service — and take money and music away from rivals like Spotify and YouTube.

The Verge reports that “Apple offered to pay YouTube’s music licensing fee to Universal Music Group if the label stopped allowing its songs on YouTube”. Bloomberg writes that “Apple has approached more than a dozen artists including Florence and the Machine for limited exclusive rights to music and partnerships”.

Both Apple and record-label spokespeople have denied comment; this wouldn’t be the first time that Apple has been embroiled in an anti-trust case. Famously, Apple worked with ebook publishers to force Amazon to change its pricing strategy, an action that’s ended with an anti-trust monitor installed on Apple’s campus.

Of course, the new charges are far from conclusive at this stage — only time, the FTC, and the ability to stream TaySway on YouTube will tell. [The Verge, Bloomberg]